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After looking at aggregated figures for each five-year period, to remove annual fluctuations, ICCA saw that the number of regularly occurring, internationally rotating association meetings is increasing by 100 percent every 10 years, doing so for the last half century with no signs of slowing down.

“Half a century is a long period over which to collect detailed and consistent information on any subject, and in the world of international meetings, it represents a monumental achievement,” said Martin Sirk, CEO, ICCA. “We have 50 years of data to study and consider; the figures are showing what we have long believed. Our world is undergoing a revolutionary period in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge and innovation, and association meetings provide an excellent insight into this dynamic, worldwide process.”

ICCA conducted this study of 50 years of association meetings data as the centerpiece of its new publication, “A modern history of international association meetings,” launched in September as part of ICCA’s 50th anniversary. ICCA asked its members and friends to share their insights into the past and future of this sector and agreed to a policy to allow anyone to download and use it. ICCA plans to globally promote it through every channel at its disposal.

It is no coincidence that there is a parallel between the exponential growth of the international association meetings sector and progress in the fields of science, healthcare and technology, according to ICCA officials. Association congresses are to a large extent driven by advances in these fields, and the unprecedented levels of discovery and innovation that are the hallmarks of recent decades are giving birth to entirely new associations and conferences, which are in turn stimulating further advances, new business opportunities and fresh insights.

Association meetings also drive societal change and opportunities to address and understand some of the world’s most challenging problems. Expert thinkers are brought together from government, industry, NGOs and academia to share knowledge and to find solutions. ICCA includes a number of case studies in its report to illustrate how this process works and to demonstrate that the value of international meetings extends far beyond the immediate economic impact of the delegates on their host destinations.

“It is vital to recognize the massive improvements to society that individual associations and their meetings can deliver, and there are still enormous improvements to be made in that area,” said Sirk. “Every association should be showcasing and shouting about inventions, discoveries, advances, solutions, collaboration and new pathways for the future. If all of us join in to raise the volume exponentially, our similarly fast-expanding community will start to earn the recognition and respect it deserves!”

ICCA is an international meetings industry association that comprises a membership representing the main specialists in handling, transporting and accommodating international events.

To learn more about “A modern history of international association meetings,” it can be downloaded here: http://www.iccaworld.com/npps/story.cfm?id=3585#sthash.Z7rdzDY3.eRU9o50g.dpuf

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